Hammond handles Howard Bears use last season's tie as motivation for victory

January 05, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Hansel Henry's beaming smile said it all yesterday at Hammond.

Henry, a 171-pounder, won the headline bout in overtime against Howard's previously unbeaten Frank Tortella, and Hammond roared past Howard, 36-18.

No. 8 Hammond (2-0 overall, 1-0 league) won six of the first seven bouts, three by pins.

The match in no way resembled last season's white-knuckle tie, a result that Bears coach Jeff Starnes used to motivate the Bears yesterday.

"We posted last year's score in our wrestling room, and we've been focusing on it for weeks," said Henry, a co-captain.

Tortella (8-1) forced Henry into overtime by escaping with three seconds left in regulation to tie, 5-5. Henry (9-2) then won on a takedown early in overtime.

"I preached all week how we had to beat Howard, and I assured my teammates that I wouldn't lose," Henry said.

Tortella overcame a 5-2 deficit to force overtime. Leading, 5-4, and having received a warning for stalling, Henry said he was worried about another stalling call that would have given Tortella a point.

"I was trying to work to the side and he took advantage of it," Henry said.

Starnes was pleased that his largely rebuilt team wrestled up to its potential. The Bears started five freshmen, three of whom won.

"This was a big win for a nearly brand-new team, but it is only Jan. 4," Starnes said. "But this is close-knit group."

The winning freshmen included Vaymond Dennis at 103 pounds, Jared Zillmer at 112 and Scott Osborn at 125.

Zillmer earned his ninth pin. His older brother, Josh, earned a pin at 140, and Mike Loula pinned in 42 seconds at 135. Jan Grothe (130) and Adam Clark (152) were other Hammond winners.

Howard won five matches. Senior 119-pounder T. J. Dameron (8-2) decisioned freshman Mark Reid. Other Howard winners were Matt Sartwell (145), Chris Poling (160), Ken Neal (189) and heavyweight Brian Neal (9-0), who earned Howard's only pin against freshman Matt Nelson.

Howard (3-3, 3-1) showed weakness at the middle weight classes, losing by wide margins at 125, 130, 135 and 140.

"Unless we can stay off our back at those weight classes we'll never beat a good team, as was the case in our losses to Dulaney and South Carroll," Howard coach Joe Thomas said. "We're a better tournament team."

Tortella said that Hammond appeared to be in much better condition than Howard and showed more enthusiasm.

"We've had a problem with people not showing up for practice. And those people are out of shape," Tortella said. "We had enthusiasm in the locker room, but once we got out on the mat it was gone."

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